By on April 17, 2019

Hyundai

Hyundai’s new Venue is not a large vehicle. At 158.9 inches in length, the sub-subcompact crossover is 5.1 inches shorter than the already petite Kona and 5.9 inches shorter than the Elantra GT. Despite its modest length, the upcoming 2020 Venue, pegged as a cheaper entry point to the Hyundai crossover lineup, doesn’t make many concessions in terms of interior room.

If you’re a hip, urban entrepreneur, Hyundai wants to get you into this front-drive-only Venue. C’mon, you had no intention of taking this thing off-road.

Debuting at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday, the Venue’s front fascia apes the larger Santa Fe and Palisade more than the Kona, lending the little ute a big-CUV presence. In photos, anyway. Upright proportions and barely-there overhangs conceal a cabin that shrinks by 2.2 cubic feet in relation to the Kona. Cargo volume behind the rear seats decreases by only half a cube (to 18.7 cubic feet). Helping the Venue pack as much room into its cabin as possible is a roofline that’s six-tenths of an inch taller than that of its slightly larger sibling.

“It may be small, but its unique and bold design sets it apart from the rest of the pack,” claims SangYup Lee, Hyundai Motor Group’s executive vice president of design.

Image: Hyundai

Indeed, the funky Venue and its contrasting roof is aimed at the ambitious, free-spirited Millennial — one who places importance on design … and perhaps can’t afford the base $19,990 MSRP of the Kona. Hyundai intends to have the Venue undercut the Kona in price, but by how much we don’t know. Currently, the base Kia Soul, starting at $16,490 before destination, is the price leader in that space, with the slightly longer Nissan Kicks carrying an entry sticker of $18,540 before destination.

Of course, a significantly cheaper Hyundai option exists in the form of the Accent, though U.S. buyers can only get their hands on the sedan variant. Spokespersons from both Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Canada tell TTAC that the Venue is not intended as a replacement for the Accent. Apparently, they feel there’s enough room for both models to coexist at the bottom of the lineup. We’ll see how that assertion pans out, especially in light of this snippet from the Venue’s marketing copy:

“With Venue’s SUV styling cues and utility, it is the ideal alternative to a subcompact car.”

In a bid to showcase the Venue’s versatility and sicken long-suffering writers, Hyundai claims the 60-40 split folding rear seat is perfect for “those trips to the farmer’s market or transporting musical instruments.”

Where’s that Dramamine???

Image: Hyundai

Besides attention to design and careful packaging, the Venue strives for increased efficiency. Resting beneath its hood is a new version of the familiar Gamma 1.6-liter four-cylinder, this one with the “Smartstream” label attached. Smartstream is the result of a effort launched in 2017 to improve the thermal efficiency of Hyundai’s smaller engines.

With this mill, Hyundai added dual port fuel injection for optimized spray, added a “high tumble combustion system” by altering the port and valve shapes, and adopted a High Ignition Energy exhaust gas recirculation system with an external EGR cooler. Another improvement to efficiency comes by way of a 2-way rotary control valve that, depending on outside temperatures, prioritizes coolant flow for either cabin heat or engine/transmission cooling.

Power figures were not forthcoming today, though Hyundai says it’s aiming for a combined fuel economy figure of 33 mpg. That’s 1 mpg more than an automatic-equipped Accent and 3 mpg more than a front-drive Kona. The Venue puts its unspecified power down via a Smartstream “intelligent variable transmission” (IVT).

Image: Hyundai

That tranny is a Kia-designed unit built to lesson the gripes hurled at conventional CVTs — specifically, sluggish, droning takeoffs that leave drivers feeling flaccid. To accomplish this, Kia engineers added adaptive style shift logic and a chain-type belt. Gun the thing, and the tranny reverts to a step-shift pattern that mimics a conventional automatic. Meanwhile, a sound-insulating cover surrounds the transmission case to keep the drone at bay.

Should this info leave you entirely unimpressed, Hyundai has a six-speed manual it wants you to know about.

As for the tech that Millennials and Gen Y so crave, the Venue has lots of it. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, plus a suite of safety features. Among them: blind spot monitoring, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping, and forward collision avoidance assist.

Additional convenience options are available at extra cost, and super connected types can choose to pair up their Blue Link app with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and bark orders from afar like a CEO.

We should become aware of the Venue’s pricing well in advance of its on-sale date, slated for the fourth-quarter of 2019.

[Images: Hyundai]

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70 Comments on “Thinking Small: 2020 Hyundai Venue Arrives in New York, Aims Directly at Millennials...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Aims Directly at Millennials”

    Which means the old folks will love it

    Front drive only? That’s dumb, why would you limit potential sales by not offering AWD?

    • 0 avatar
      TimK

      “Old folks” who live in places like Tucson or Ft. Myers can get by just fine with 2WD. This is a nice looking car that serves up utility along with decent mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yes, but why exclude the “Old folks” in the snowbelt who like their AWD?

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Haste. Probably on platform that couldnt handle AWD or has no room for transmission tunnel, but had to get to market in white hot segment. Could simply be recognition that people buying this car wont need or want it given its intended value proposition. AWD is expensive option for a very inexpensive offering in this price range and there are plenty of other AWD options on Hyundai lots if you need AWD.

          Neat little runabout. Probably a pretty solid hit if interior packaging is smart.

          • 0 avatar
            statikboy

            Indeed… probably cut into interior passenger and cargo space in a vehicle that needs to make the most of what space it has.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “Which means the old folks will love it”

      This AARP-card-carrier says yup. They had me at “6-speed manual”. As far as AWD, a little ground clearance + snows and I’m good. Although I’m not crazy about the ipad glued to the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      Agreed. Definitely looks like a successor to the xB and cube. I’ve virtually never seen a young person driving either of those.

      That’s not a dig at the cars or the people driving them, just a demonstration that the best laid plans of marketing people often go awry…

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      True! I have an achy creaky back, and our next 2nd-car will need easy ingress/egress. The Venue may just fit the bill.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I suspect they know that older folks are the actual customers for this thing, but it sounds better to investors to say you are designing something “for Millennials” rather than “for senior citizens”.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          What is with the AWD/4WD fetish that some ‘enthusiasts’ have?

          I was an outlier, jumping on that bandwagon early with a 1st generation Explorer, a 1st generation Grand Cherokee and a Honda Civic Realtime 4wd wagon. And discovered that, the AWD/4WD was basically superfluous. Quickly converted primarily to FWD minivans. And that was while covering Southern Ontario, driving to ski hills and hockey tournaments in the worst weather conditions possible for that region.

          In over 40 years of driving I have (knock wood) only been stuck twice and once was in one of those above named vehicles.

          The Kia Soul sells just fine with FWD only.
          Does anyone know what percentage of Rogues, CRVs’, Sportages, Tuscons, HRV’s, etc are sold as AWD as opposed to FWD only? And how many AWD Fusions were sold? Or Toyota Siennas?

          Adding production and engineering costs, maintenance costs and decreasing fuel efficiency does not appear to be something necessary for a vehicle being aimed at a ‘low price point’. Or as an urban commuter/runabout.

          • 0 avatar
            haroldhill

            +1. As far as I’m concerned AWD is an appearance package. On average there are one-to-three days a year when I can’t (shouldn’t) be out on the roads without it, and the cost of immobility that rare is dwarfed by the cost of AWD (purchase and maintenance/fuel/tires).

            I have yet to be stuck with only FWD. Closest I’ve ever come was trying to get up a steep, icy hill. The car’s weight transfer was working against me, so I backed up the hill instead. Saab 96, by the way.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            We don’t NEED a lot of things we like, but if AWD helps older people feel more confident on snowy roads then it’s worth it. Most people who experience AWD rarely go back to 2WD if given a choice

          • 0 avatar
            dividebytube

            Yep on the old people. My now 78yo dad drove most of his working life here in Michigan with RWD cars: Volvos, big Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs – often 40k miles a year.

            Now it’s AWD no matter what. Which was understandable back in the days when they used to live out in the country.

            Heck when I bought my Mustang he asked if it was FWD. And seemed confused when I bought winter tires.

            Me: “Uh it helps the car get traction _and_ improved stopping”

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @Arthur Dailey: Totally agree.

            In 40 years of driving in the Pittsburgh area I’ve only been stuck once where I couldn’t reach my destination, and there might be 3 days a year that I shouldn’t really go out.

            The surge of AWD is a marketing scam, in my opinion.

            As for those vehicles you mentioned, a look on cars.com will show you how few are actually available in FWD. The AWD-fitted variants far outweigh the lowly FWD.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Fits perfectly with this old saying, “You can sell a young man’s car to an old man, but you can’t sell an old man’s car to a young man”

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        That’s why I love my C-Max vs my old Jetta wagon. I open the door, and the chair height is just like my office chair. Getting into a regular car like a sedan isn’t much fun with the seat much lower to the ground.

        I can see why people like high-riding vehicles like CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        stuckonthetrain

        Always seemed there were far more empty nesters than target demo in xB’s, 500L’s, and Elements. Less so in Souls, oddly. Not sure why.

        PS – FWIW, millenials and Gen-Y are understood to be the same cohort. Gen-Z, or “centennials” (ugh) are who follow.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Its probably to upsell people into bigger CUVs, on top of that AWD would raise this things price a bit too much I suppose to where it’d compete with other models.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      What’s dumb is 95% of fwd based awd setups. A lot of these only put a small portion of torque to the rear axle, which isn’t making much difference. Fwd and good tires has PLENTY of grip, and if that’s not sufficient then do it right and get something with an actual transfer case. Jeep and Subaru ‘s awd systems are designed with actual moderate off pavement use in mind so if you MUST go the awd crossover route, those might be worthwhile. Most of what’s out there has little solid information as to how it actually works…which says all you need to know.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Some AWD systems are better then others, it helps to know your car

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          Fair enough but that’s my point: the Kaylas and Heathers who buy CR-AV4’s to take Jayden and Braden to school don’t have the foggiest idea what front/rear torque bias is. It’s not even on the radar for those cars’ customers. Arguably a portion of Wrangler and 4-Runner owners are equally clueless but the difference is many actual enthusiasts DO buy those. The poser sales are pure profit.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            For what it is worth, here are actual worldwide projected sales figures for FWD, RWD, AWD and 4WD. Seems that AWD/4WD combined has peak sales demand in North America, where roads are much better than much of the rest of the world. So how much is ‘want’ or the ‘poseur’ faction as opposed to actual need? Even then, including pick-up trucks (global driveline) it is expected to peak at 35%. However, when looking at them, the percentages don’t seem to add up?

            By 2022, according to data analysts IHS, global aggregate demand for FWD models will be little changed from today’s dominant value of around 45 percent; the next most popular architecture, and again substantially unchanged, will be rear-wheel drive (RWD) at some 15 percent. AWD systems will gain in share slightly against the less-sophisticated 4WD set-up; together, they will account for almost 20 percent of global drivetrain production.

            In compiling his presentation for the European All-Wheel Drive Congress in Graz, Austria in April this year, IHS manager of EMEA powertrain forecasting Chris Guile North America, where 4WD/AWD penetration will peak at almost 35 percent before leveling off by 2022.

            https://www.lubrizoladditives360.com/forecasts-show-global-awd-volumes-rising-but-fwd-suvs-growing/

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            There seem to be some One-Wheel-Drive and Three-Wheel-Drive vehicles messing up the numbers. I hope we’ve reached peak stupid, but there may be no reason to be optimistic in this age of AOC voters and reparations talk.

    • 0 avatar
      MKizzy

      I can see retirees towing plenty of these little things behind their RV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Old folks should love it. It kinda looks like a Studebaker.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    You could do worse for likely transaction price of 16k. It reminds me of the 500x minus the X because no AWD.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    Those DRLs look astoundingly bad.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I, for one, do not have a problem with small crossovers like this.

    What I *do* have a problem with is that this effectively replaces the Accent hatch yet costs 30% MORE than a current Accent sedan.

    And if it’s $18,450 with a manual, by the time (most) buyers add the automatic, it’s priced the same as a Kona (which comes standard w/auto) so why bother??

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Hyundai dealers: “WE WANT A SOUL TOO!”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    At eighteen grand, with a manual, this would be a nice little urban runabout.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This looks like it apes the styling of a MV-1

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    6-speed manual? Imagine the hordes of Internet car site commenters going to buy it!

  • avatar

    What do you wanna bet this thing costs as much as a Soul, but is smaller in every dimension and lacks AWD just the same?

  • avatar
    watersketch

    What is the space between the dash and the glove compartment on the passenger side? It looks weird.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Bold styling isn’t a Nissan Kicks with Hyundai badges. I’m on the old side of Millennial, and I’d rather take the bus than incur several years of debt for one of these.

    Can the market really not bear anything cheap that’s neither a standard rental grade compact car or some tiny watered down crossover at the entry level range? I don’t love the Soul (respect, but not love), but compared to what else is out there, it’s a miracle it exists.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    As someone married to a Millennial to the extent I’m not one myself, I think this could do really well with that cohort. Millennials are big into the environment – reduce, reuse, recycle! – and they did a good job here of recycling the interior of a 2007 Accent.

  • avatar
    ObviouslyCarGuru

    Yikes. Now that, is fugly. Pretty sure that an updated KIA design from the 90s.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why are dashboards computers now?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This is a great greenhouse. Depending on crash results, this could well be the kid’s first car.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    man, they just love the 2014 Cherokee.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    AiMEd DirECtLy aT MiLLeNiAlS

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “Aims Directly at Millennials”

    Isn’t there a pedestrian avoidance system to fix that?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Millennials and Gen Y so crave”

    This is one in the same, the new young kids are Z and we awesome folk are called X.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Not much of a looker, but I suppose this will sell better than what the Accent hatch did.

    But the Soul is roomier and looks better (for probably not much more $$).

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “Psst. Hey. Yeah, you. You lookin’ at that Mini? C’mon over here, I’ve got something to show you.”

  • avatar

    “Aims Directly at Millennials”

    How cool! Does it come with Toyota/ISIS style machine gun? My dream truck.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    The Venue looks like a Pallisade just gave birth to it on the savanna. At least it doesn’t look too cheap inside or out, unless that elegant gray color in the photos is tricking the eye.

    However, the Venue looks really tall and must be loads of fun to drive in crosswinds.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Welcome to the FUTURE America, not just for Millennials, but for all but the top 10%, as the class formerly known as the middle continues to be eviscerated, wealth is concentrated increasingly into the top 0.001 (so much so, that even those in even the top 10% are now seriously hurting to front what is a nice lifestyle, and this will soon extend to even those in the top 7%), as Americans of almost every type lose more social safety benefits, healthcare, housing, taxes, insurance, education skyrocket upwards, far outpacing whatever wage gains are to be had even amongst the top 25% percent (excluding the top maybe 1/2 of one percent – or 0.005).

    No pensions, increasing cost-shifting of social safety net costs to individuals (to pay for corporate tax breaks, massive defense and health care lobby-driven spending), privatization of services and massive cost increases by oligopoly friends of Senators/Congresspersons, increasing automation, increasing taxation on necessities (energy, use taxes, non-sin taxes), etc.

    The U.S. will soon be a land of massively lower quality of life, with these types of vehicles as middle class, 900 to 1,100 houses, built poorly, on 1/5th acre lots, many apartments, and lots of toll roads.

    The concentration of corporate oligopoly and even monopoly power and the pricing that goes along with it will continue unabated (look at the number of health insurers, cable/telecom providers, pharma companies, or any other number of decreasing, larger players in other major industries).

    These types of vehicles will be the new aspirational soon.

  • avatar
    markf

    The over 65, CRV/Rav4 crowd will love it

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    This is the most European crossovery-hatchbacky thing I’ve ever seen offered for sale in North America — built to the size of a Chiclet, styled like a Seat and a Citroen had a baby, powered by an engine with less displacement than the Coke bottle in my fridge, and equipped with a 6-speed manual. Dig those square-in-circle wheels, Eugene Levy eyebrows, and little bustle-butt bumper. And it’s cheap!!!

    I admit, I likey.


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